The symptoms of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) don't normally affect daily life, but everyone’s experience is different.

What are the symptoms of MCI?

Symptoms of MCI may include:

  • Memory - Misplacing items or having trouble remembering recent conversations.
  • Attention - Finding it difficult to concentrate, e.g. while watching a TV programme or carrying out duties at work.
  • Disorientation - Confusion about time, date or place.
  • Thinking skills - Problems with planning or completing tasks, e.g. managing money, or cooking a meal.
  • Communication - Problems finding the right words.
  • Mood and behaviour - becoming irritable, anxious, or feeling low.

These symptoms may affect someone with MCI all the time, or they might come and go. This will depend on the underlying cause.

Anyone experiencing any changes to their health, including mild changes to their memory, and thinking, should make an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible. Getting an early and accurate diagnosis is important.

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with MCI?

If you have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment in the last two years and would like to share your story to help shape our work please get in touch via

What is mild cognitive impairment?

This introductory leaflet aims to help you understand mild cognitive impairment. It’s for anyone who might be worried about their own or someone else’s memory.

MCI front cover
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This information was updated in November 2023 and is due to be reviewed in November 2025. It was written by Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Information Services team with input from lay and expert reviewers.

Our information does not replace advice that doctors, pharmacists, or nurses may give you.


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